Chances are you might unwittingly be doing things that irritate your boss or coworkers. According to a new survey by Accountemps, senior managers believe the top etiquette blunder is missing or running late to meetings, while workers felt gossiping about colleagues was the most common.


Whether or not you’re the boss, etiquette matters just as much as it does for the employee. Here are tips on handling the two most common issues in your workplace:

Missing or arriving late to meetings

When key players show up late for meetings, it delays information sharing and decision making, says Laura Handrick, workplace analyst for FitSmallBusiness.com, a website that provides information for entrepreneurs. “It also disrespects your peers by wasting their time,” she says.

“Others may perceive a lack of punctuality as unreliability, which can reflect poorly on your professional reputation,” Steinitz says

While it’s annoying, sometimes being late is unavoidable, such as if you’re traveling and are delayed or you’re booked in back-to-back meetings, says Handrick. “The best thing to do is to let them know in advance that you’re running late,” she says. “That demonstrates respect for the meeting participants. It also gives the meeting leader the option to postpone or reschedule the meeting. Giving them a heads up is the best way to not look like a schmuck walking into a meeting late.”

Gossiping about employees

Professionals at any level can fall prey to office gossip, but it’s how they choose to handle it that can make them come out on top, says Steinitz.

“Workplace gossip can lead to loss of productivity and trust within the team, hurt feelings, and workers forming negative opinions of each other,” he says. “In some cases, it could cause workers to leave the company.”

As a leader in your organization, the office culture is largely dependent on you. You can choose to change the focus of your work conversations to praise and recognition and you’ll find that the work life of your employees will become more productive. Spend less time on chatter and more on seeing to it that your workers are well equipped to giving the business their best. Where you find that a worker isn’t performing as they should or you’ve heard something rather disturbing about them, it is not out of line to have a private conversation with them about it. That way, you stay out of the chatter, silence the noise and promote a less hostile environment.

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